Ronnie05's Blog

The Jesus moment of Wearables (Apple Watch) passes with a mere whimper

Posted in Body Hacking & Quantified Self, Device Platforms, New Technologies by Manas Ganguly on September 10, 2014

The Apple Watch is a great accessory- but if you expected Apple to break new ground in wearables, you would be left disappointed. Is this the pass-over of Apple to the banal.

The Apple watch has been around in discussions and blogs for a while. Coming after a slew of Android wearables,the Apple watch was supposed to be what the iPhone was to smartphones: Jesus. The announcement came yesterday night and oh Jesus! My only reaction to the Apple watch is that Apple is blowing it away. Every single point of advantage painstaking built by Steve Jobs is being undone. 

We didnot want a iPhone mini – we wanted a wearable – Apple read it wrong- and created a iPhone mini with a few modifications here, there and everywhere.

Any new category needs one “hero” thing it needs to do – in the case of wearables – create alternate health as a business. Apple Watch just created a lot of apps- that can open hotel doors and do other random things. But it didnot do – what it ought to have done – layout an eco-system roadmap that combined technology, body hacking and the health eco-system in one neat package.

I didnot assume Android would do it – but i thought Apple with its consistently disrupting innovations would lay the roadmap to fulfilling this eco-system. The answer to which is – in the current settings – Apple seems to have not done that.

The good thing is that the Apple Watch with its array of sensors has the doorways in place – and possibly Appsters will pick up – but i had expected Apple to come up neat on Health integrations. Mr. Cook didnot get his balance right- and that’s why my expectations from Apple watch remain unfulfilled.  

Apple has leveraged its App eco-system to merely create interfaces that complement the iPhone features and functionalities. I expected a novel new device – not an extension of the smartphone.May be Apple is loosing its edge – may be its time for others to push over with disruptions! 

Leave your comments on Apple Watch?

 

(Back Blogging after a month of travel. Besides the habit of blogging seems to be missing out – hopefully, will be more regular)

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Should Android be tentative about wearables and vice versa?

Posted in Body Hacking & Quantified Self by Manas Ganguly on March 15, 2014

A few days back Google released an Android software developer kit for wearables in a move that should lead to smartwatch and other gear. What remains to be seen is how well Android can adapt to the small screen.

In an announcement that came at the SXSW Sundar Pichai, who heads Google Chrome and Android efforts said he wants to connect to a bevy of sensors and wearables with Android. Google’s Android is already moving into automobiles. Android has proved it can move to larger screens. From the smartphone, Android has hit tablets, TVs and even PCs. However, the small screen may be trickier—assuming some of these wearables and sensor-first devices even have screens. Here’s a look at Android’s key challenges as they relate to the wearable market:

1. Wearable computing operating systems need to be silently working in the background – effortlessly and elegantly. Android’s Achilles Heel is the working in the background bit.
2. The Wearables ecosystem is a smarter one having learnt its lessons from Smartphones. Already Intel and Samsung have upped their game and presence. OEMs this time may not want to play all of it into one corner.Android means a race to the bottom for hardware makers.
3. Its hard to be one OS for all screens – the OS must have to be lightened considerably especially for wearables. Android could simply be too bulky to be useful in wearable computing.
4. Apps for the wearables will need a serious rethink – especially in the sense that these may not be visible apps or may have to pair devices in groups for serious activity
5. There’s a bit of unease about Google and data. Android in a smartwatch seems like a no brainer since the device to date is merely an extension of the smartphone. However,users may be wary of sharing vital signs with Google and may not want ads and pitches via a wearable. Google is all about the ads and wearable computing can make pitches a bit more freaky.

Sooner than later, these challenges will be overcome by Google, but I’ve been in the tech industry long enough to know that retrofits and alternates don’t always fly. Adapting Android to wearable computing is likely to be harder than it appears on the whiteboard.

Mood sensing Ads on Apple’s mind (We always knew that, didn’t we??)

Posted in Applications and User Interfaces, Device Platforms, New Technologies by Manas Ganguly on January 25, 2014

I fell out of love with Apple when they launched iPhone5S. I fell in love back again when i read their iWatch concept.

iWatch

In an earlier post, i had written about iWatch and the path breaking dimensions it was adding to the whole technology domain by being able to monitor (and possibly measure) the state of being. The state of inner being is key to Apple’s ambitions.

apple-ads-mood-patent-filing_441x406

By being able to infer a person’s inner state of being, inferred by changes in Systolic, Diastolic pressures, pulse rates, Apple has an algorithm that estimates the person’s mood and serves him with suitable triggers based upon a variety of other external coordinates such as time, location,visit frequencies, past behavior. Apple has filed a patent application that describes a system that would try to gauge some of the user’s physical and behavioral facets to serve up ads that may better appeal and contextually relevant.

The ad delivery system would start by compiling a “baseline mood profile” against which it can compare your future moods. Information that might be captured would include your heart rate, blood pressure, adrenaline level, perspiration rate, body temperature, vocal expression, and even your facial expression. The time of day and your current location may also be incorporated to associate those factors with your various moods.The system would then select a specific type of ad based on your current mood and other criteria. As one example listed in the patent application, certain ads might be sent to someone with the following characteristics: gender, male; age, 19-24; location, Northern California or New York City; mood, happy.

Apple's filing describes the system as

It may not be exactly music to advocates of privacy – who could be considered to getting creep-ed out, but this is one exiting dimension which could do a new tthing to the world of ads…

The future computer is only a miniature – and Intel shows how. Enter Edison

Posted in Sensor networks and devices by Manas Ganguly on January 10, 2014

A computer that is “not bigger than an SD card” is Intel’s latest attempt to get into the new world of wearable computers. Edison which packs the SoC Quark, looks smart enough for the job.Basically, the Edison is a miniature computer in the form factor of an SD card. The tiny 400MHz computer is built on the company’s 22nm transistor technology, runs Linux and has built-in WiFi and Bluetooth modules. What’s more, the tiny machine can connect to its own app store. It will cost $199 in the US (about £120) and includes three onesies, a Turtle and a device that functions as a charging station.

intel

To get the eco-system enthused, Intel also reported the first eco-system of devices, technologies using the Edison – a small collection of “Nursery 2.0” products using embedded Edison chips: a toy frog that reports an infant’s vitals to a parent via an LED coffee cup, for example, and a milk warmer that starts heating when another connected item (the frog, again) hears the baby cry.Intel has also announced the “Make it Wearable” competition for developers, and says it will be offering up to $1.3 million in prizes for developers churning out wearable tech.

Nice and smart start. Would this be good for Intel to stay ahead in the chase and race for wearables? We shall see..

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Intel tries to diversify as smartphones and tablets have no need for its processors

Posted in Industry updates, Sensor networks and devices by Manas Ganguly on January 8, 2014

Declassifying Inte’s future plans from the CEO’s CES key note address

Intel Chief Executive Officer Brian Krzanich will take the stage at the International Consumer Electronics Show with the message that the chipmaker will do what it takes to remain relevant as consumers switch to mobile devices for computing tasks.

Krzanich, who will make a keynote presentation at the trade show in Las Vegas, is set to feature a first public showing of some of the mobile and wearable technology from Intel’s New Devices division, led by former Apple executive Mike Bell. Krzanich could also emphasise how Intel has accelerated the pace at which it brings new products to market.

The world’s largest chipmaker, which dominates the market for semiconductors that run traditional computers, is seeking to branch out as consumers increasingly use smartphones and tablets that don’t contain Intel processors. With the personal-computer market forecast to decline for a third consecutive year and Intel failing to win significant market share in phones, Krzanich is working to ensure that the company doesn’t miss new opportunities such as wearable devices and other personal technology.

“PCs are slowing so you have to offset that with something else,” said Patrick Wang, an analyst at Evercore Partners in New York.

Intel Insular

The Santa Clara, California-based company, which Krzanich took over in May, remains heavily dependent on servers and PCs. Intel has more than 80% of the market for PC processors and more than 95% share in server chips, according to researcher IDC. In November, the company forecast that sales will be about the same as the $52.6 billion it will report for 2013, below the $53.7 billion analysts were projecting.

Since becoming CEO, Krzanich, a former semiconductor factory manager, has taken steps to diversify Intel’s business. He has said Intel will focus on providing what the market wants in chips rather than following the company’s traditional method of designing and producing products aimed at determining the direction of technology. In addition, the company’s plants, which Intel says are the industry’s most advanced, may produce chips for rivals, he said.

“However the market moves, wherever the compute need is, we want our products to do it best,” Krzanich said at a meeting at the company’s headquarters. “We’d become insular. We’d become focused on what was our best product rather than where the market was moving.”

Listen to the Market

The 53-year-old also has said he’s speeding up the time it takes from design to production of new chips and concentrating efforts on lower-power products. Intel has a new processor called Quark, which it’s trying to get into everything from household appliances to industrial equipment.

Krzanich’s openness to producing chips for other companies and to listening to what his customers want is a departure from predecessor Paul Otellini, who had said smartphones and tablets wouldn’t replace PC, says Stacy Rasgon, an analyst at Sanford C Bernstein & Co. “They had their head in the sand,” said Rasgon. “Their push now is to make sure they don’t get blindsided again.”

The CEO, who like his five predecessors was an internal appointment, may need to go further to make what Intel produces central again. While wearable devices could become the next billion-unit market, according to Rasgon, Intel isn’t fast enough at rolling out new products.

Wang said Intel’s factories might be its best bet for getting into new markets. The company will spend $11 billion this year on plants and equipment to maintain its lead in transistor technology. Intel said it is more than a year ahead of competitors in the manufacturing of the fundamental component of all semiconductors.

To participate in the market for smartwatches, glasses and the internet of things, where Intel has no track record in designing chips that are better than alternatives, the company should open its factories to rivals such as Qualcomm, which are more likely to win, said Wang. But that’s a step further than Krzanich may be ready to take.

Reported from Economic Times Article under the topic: CEP Chips in with Intel everywhere

64 Bit Chips: How Apple out-smarted Qualcomm and Samsung!

Posted in Device Platforms, New Technologies by Manas Ganguly on December 17, 2013

Innovation is the name of the game and none understands this better than Apple. So just when their device and design innovation was hitting the plateau – they got the other enablers firing. The one being discussed here is Apple’s 64 bit A7 micro-processor.

The industry standard in micro-processor is a 32 Bit thingie – which plays in all smartphones. A 64-bit processor handles data in bigger chunks than 32-bit processors, so it can get jobs done faster. PCs have had 64-bit chips for a while, but until Apple introduced the iPhone 5s in September, nobody had put one in a smartphone.

While both Samsung and Qualcomm, both key players in the Android eco-system have the 64 Bit micro-processor in their roadmaps with a Q1 2014 and Q2 2014 time frame of launch – Apple’s Q3 launch of the A7 – puts Apple ahead of its rivals – in terms of perfecting the chip and rubbing off the rough edges. In the past, the iPhone was zippy not because it boasted a super-powerful processor, but because of the way Apple integrated the whole system — hardware and software — and the fact that Apple could tightly control how developers wrote code for the iPhone. An analogy would be a sports car that manages to be fast with a small engine because it is light, well-engineered, and has a great suspension. But now Apple can also claim an advantage in raw horsepower. The new 64-bit A7 chip is the smartphone equivalent of a big V12 engine.

Many in the industry do not still behold the importance of 64bit microprocessor. If the convergence industry is venturing into uncharted lands such as wearables – with different other functions such as Body monitoring or Augmented Reality applications, a higher order chipset will then become the next essential. Apple with its iWatch sees this as the promised land and the 64bit chip as the deliverance and has made the jump. It would have a 1 yr experential advantage with this 64 Bit chip when compared to others. Deep down, I am sure that a 128 Bit Chip could also be in the Horizon.

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